[vc_row][vc_column width=”2/3″][vc_column_text]A husband and wife duo who volunteer at a club to teach people with learning difficulties how to ski are up for an award for the tremendous work they do in their community.
Eddie and Kathleen Sythes, who are celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary this year, have been running the classes at The Ski Club of Ireland in Kilternan for the last 20 years.
Eddie told Dublin Gazette how they got involved.
“We’ve been involved in the ski club for 40 years and we always had the odd club member that had a special needs child or family member.
“One of the care centres was looking for a sport for adults with a mild learning disability and they contacted the ski club. That’s going back to 1995. We took on a group then and kept it going ever since.”
The classes run every Tuesday afternoon from September to Easter and ages of the skiers range from 11 to 50.
Eddie said they are heavily involved in the Special Olympics and take home medals every time.
“We have about 27 people with a learning disability being taught how to ski. There’s a group of volunteers, we’re all volunteers.
“We take part in the Special Olympics competitions. We’ve been to games in Canada, Japan, Korea, all over the place!
“We’ve been to five or six different world games over a 20 odd year period. We always win several medals every time.”
Skier Stuart Brierton (21) is one of those skiers and travels up from Bray to go to Kilternan. He won medals in at the Special Olympics World Winter Games in South Korea in 2013.
He told Dublin Gazette he really enjoys going and it has helped him in a lot of ways.
“It has benefited me in a lot of ways. I went to Austria with the club prior to the 2013 world winter games in PyeongChang, South Korea where I won two silver and one gold in Alpine skiing with thanks to the Ski Club of Ireland and Special Olympics.
“It has also made me one of the very few that ski in Ireland on a weekly basis.”
He said he is so grateful for the work that Eddie and Kathleen do.
“Without Eddie and Kathleen, I would have not learned the art of skiing which I’m happy for,” said Stuart.
Eddie and Kathleen Sythes have been nominated for Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council’s Community and Volunteer Awards 2018 for their volunteer work.
The award ceremony takes place at The Radisson Blu, St Helen’s today (Thursday).[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/3″][/vc_column][/vc_row]